Dawn, you’ve been gone.
It’s been such a long time.
Too many years.
It was a Wednesday night, the day after New Year’s Day, and most definitely a school night, but I found myself walking along K Road in the direction of the notorious Rising Sun to catch the ye olde Flying Nun killer triple bill of Bird Nest Roys, Ghost Club and King Loser.
The bar was packed with the creme de la creme of Auckland’s aging hipster community, of which I may or may not belong.
First up was Bird Nest Roys, who you probably haven’t heard of. They were from West Auckland and released one album in 1987, which was loved by those who owned it. They’ve had a bit of a cult following, and so the audience seemed to be full of people who were really really happy to have the rare chance to see them play after all these years.
I only knew two of their songs – “Alien” (because it is on the Flying Nun “Very Short Films” video compilation DVD) and “Jaffa Boy” (because it is on the Flying Nun boxset), but nonetheless, it enjoyed their set. They’ve got a lovely jangly pop sound and nice harmonies.
Afterwards, waiting in line for the toilet, I heard one lady say that she used to sneak into the Windsor Castle pub to see them when she was 15. Then a young girl, not much older than 15, gushed to another, “OMG! It must be so cool seeing your dad in a band!”
If Birds Nest Roys was the entree, then Ghost Club was the main course. Ghost Club is David Mitchell and Denise Roughan (both formerly of the 3Ds) and Jim Abbott. But, really, Denise and Jim are mainly there to provide a rock solid foundation for David Mitchell’s musical maaaaaadness.
He kept asking for the guitar on his monitor to be turned up, which prompted a guy in the audience to keep yelling out, “More guitar!” (or perhaps “MOAR GITTAR!!!!!1”). And there more more guitar, and more and more and more.
It reminded me of how much I missed the 3Ds live. With D. Mitchell, D. Roughan, D. Stones (a Bird Nest Roy) and D. Saunders – all four of the 3Ds – in the house – I’m hoping that this planetary alignment may make things happen in future.
And then for dessert, King Loser. I love King Loser. I saw them heaps in the mid ’90s, and their first album “Sonic Super Free Hi-Fi” is one of my favourites.
King Loser comprises of the magical pairing of Chris Heazlewood (bitch guitar, drawly vocals) and Celia [Pavlova/Mancini/Patel] (sweet singing, seductive organ, hawt bass), with Sean O’Reilly filling in the gaps wot need to be filled, and a Spinal-Tap-like rota of drummers.
So, it was getting late and I was tired and I wanted to go home, but yet here was this opportunity to see a band I hadn’t seen live for about 12 years. The guys were setting up on stage, when suddenly, in blazed hurricane Celia. She came staggering on to stage, clutching a giant handbag filled with essential rock items, took off her coat to reveal a 1950s-style “American Indian” tassled bib thing and a Masonic apron. She then distributed Masonic aprons to Chris and Sean.
Eventually they got everything plugged in and started playing. I think they hadn’t played for about seven years, and it, well, it sounded like it. It was very very rough, but King Loser were always a rough band.
King Loser are like taking the scenic route to the beach, which means driving over a rocky, rubbly road in your clapped-out old car, and sometimes you complain about the journey, but other times you just enjoy the view, and then when you get to the beach you stay in the shade, dressed all in black, damning the sun.
The big highlight for me was “Stairway to Heaven” (no, not the Led Zep one, the King Loser one.). It’s one of the greatest New Zealand songs ever written, sez me. I preferred the more epic version on their album to the shorter one they did live, but I’m not complaining.
They finally ended with a chaotic, shambolic “Dick Dale”, and I was glad cos it meant I could go home and sleep, yet I was sad it was over. King Loser suck, King Loser rule.
What a cool night. And here is a memento of the evening – me posing with David Saunders, he of the 3Ds. I don’t know why I was pulling a face.
Photo by film-maker and photographer (and secret blogger) Andy Moore.